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Understanding Power Over Ethernet (PoE) Media Converter

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Posted on October 14, 2019
September 24, 2020
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To overcome transmission distance limitation of traditional copper cabling, it is often the case that media converter is deployed to connect copper to fiber. As one type of fiber media converter, the fiber media converter with PoE does the same but also provides an extra function to supply power over Ethernet. How much do you know about the PoE media converter? How to use it? This article intends to explain the basis of the PoE media converter to help you learn more about it.

What Is a PoE Media Converter?

Traditionally, fiber media converters can only transmit data; while PoE media converter can not only help users to create an Ethernet-fiber link but also act as a power sourcing equipment (PSE) to provide power to one or two powered devices (PDs) over the network cable.

By using the PoE media converter like the 10/100/1000M PoE media converter shown below, it provides a flexible and cost-effective solution for implementing and optimizing fiber links. In addition, like all the other Ethernet media converters which break the distance limitation of Ethernet cables, PoE media converters extend the network distance via fiber to remote PDs such as the original VoIP phones, wireless access points, security cameras, and point-of-sale (POS) terminals in temperature control systems, and even in-flight entertainment systems.

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How Does a PoE Media Converter Work?

The picture below shows how the PoE media converter provides fiber-to-copper connections between the fiber switch and wireless access point and powers the access point simultaneously. As shown in the figure, the fiber is run for a long distance from the fiber switch to the PoE media converter located near a convenient AC or DC power source, where it does the fiber-to-copper conversion. At the other end of the UTP cable carrying data and power together is the wireless access point, located up to 100 meters away from the PoE fiber to Ethernet converter.

How to Use a PoE Media Converter?

There are three main applications of PoE media converters: fiber to IP cameras, fiber to wireless access points, and fiber to the desktop. Here we take fiber to IP cameras as an example to show the application of a PoE media converter.

Before starting the deployment process, make sure you have access to the following devices: a Gigabit fiber switch, a 10/100/1000M PoE media converter, an IP camera, an Ethernet network cable (like Cat5e/Cat6), a fiber patch cable (like OS2/OM4), and two SFP fiber optic transceivers.

Step 1: Insert an SFP module into the fiber port of the PoE media converter and an SFP module into the SFP port of the switch.

Step 2: Connect a fiber optic cable to the SFP module on the PoE media converter and the other end of the cable into the switch.

Step 3: Connect the RJ45 ports of the PoE media converter and the IP camera using a UTP Ethernet cable.

The video below will help you to get a better understanding of how to use a PoE fiber to Ethernet converter.


How to Select the Right PoE Media Converter?

How to choose the best PoE media converter that suits your network requirement? There are some points you should consider.

Data rate: The data rate of the PoE media converter is the first thing that should be considered. There are 10M, 100M, 1000M, 10/100M, and 10/100/1000M PoE media converters in the market which can be chosen as you need.

Port number and port type: In most cases, a PoE media converter features one fiber port and one RJ45 port, but there are still some PoE fiber to Ethernet converters that have multiple ports such as one or two fiber ports and four RJ45 ports.

Single mode or multimode: According to the transmission media, the PoE media converter can be divided into single mode converter and multimode converter, which will affect the transmission distance and the fiber optic transceivers/fiber patch cables that can be used.

Duplex mode: As some PoE media converters can only be used as full duplex but not half duplex, packet loss may occur when it is connected with the switch or hub that supports half duplex. So make sure whether the PoE media converter supports either full duplex or half duplex or supports both of full duplex and half duplex.

Operating temperature: It should be noted especially when you need an industrial PoE media converter. Remember to check the operating temperature of the media converter to see if it can operate under extended temperature (generally from -40 °C to 75 °C). Therefore you should check the operating temperature with your media converter provider about whether you can install them in extreme environments.

Standards: Generally PoE media converter are IEEE802.3af, IEEE802.3at, or IEEE802.3bt compliant. Confirm that the PoE media converter you want supports these standards or there may be some compatibility problems.